What Are the Top 7 Reasons for Leaving a Job?

Over the last ten years, the number of people leaving their jobs voluntarily has risen higher than ever before. Research suggests that most people aren’t unhappy in their roles but they’re always considering a better experience somewhere else. Some of this increase can be attributed to an overall change in attitude – more young people find themselves moving on over time, rather than staying in one place for several years. 

This is particularly true of millennials and younger generations, who are always focused on growth, progression and improvement. This inevitably leads to moving on if they’re seeking new challenges or career development. 

If you’re an employer, this creates an obvious challenge. How do you retain your top talent? Similarly, how do you build and maintain long-term relationships within a team? This has led to a complete shift in how bosses think about employee satisfaction, with many choosing to push new initiatives or schemes that make that happen.

Below we explore the most common 7 reasons for leaving a job and why some employees are considering moving to new roles.

1. Salary

Salary remains the top answer to the question ‘why people leave a job’. Most people are working for money and if the compensation doesn’t match their responsibilities, they’ll consider leaving. 

For employers, it’s important to realise that many employees are naturally researching how much they’re worth in the jobs market and if they’re taking on more responsibilities, their market value is increasing. Employers should always know what a competitive salary looks like for each member of their team and expect this to be raised in pay reviews.

As an employer, you can reduce the number of people leaving a job by providing a competitive salary or at least offering more benefits and bonuses to create a complete package. If your budget allows it, be open to offering pay increases based on employees reaching targets or overperforming.

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2. Flexibility

An increasingly common reason for leaving a job is a lack of flexibility – especially as remote working has become more widespread and people have higher expectations around what a successful work-life balance looks like. 

For employers or roles that struggle to accommodate flexible working hours or take place during unsociable hours, they may find this a common reason for people leaving. For the company then, it’s important to either adapt and offer these benefits or be more thorough in the screening process to find people that don’t prioritise flexibility. 

Employers should have a frank discussion around flexibility with their employees or work with specialist recruiters to streamline and improve their screening process. Some of the benefits of flexible working include reducing employee absences or providing better job satisfaction.

Related: What Happens When You Leave a Job

3. Unsuitable roles

Many employees leave a role because they’re not a good fit. This can be down to a range of reasons but is often because the job wasn’t advertised properly, the description wasn’t clear enough or the application process wasn’t thorough enough. 

An easy fix for this problem is by working with a professional recruitment agency that can find the right candidate with a mix of proper screening, research and client matching.

If you’re an employee, make sure you do your own due diligence and ask the right questions during the interview process to minimise the chances of a bad fit.

4. Bad company culture

Company culture is often a major reason for people leaving a company and often requires a long-term plan to properly fix. 

A company culture arises out of a range of factors including how managers speak to each other, how employees speak to each other, how a company reacts to certain behaviours and aspects such as social activities.

Issues such as bullying and negativity can be tough to spot but have a huge impact on the overall company culture. This is why it’s so important to root out as soon as possible.

While different companies and industries will naturally have different cultures, the same fundamentals always apply – collaboration and constructive communication should always be priorities as it leads to further success.

5. Lack of challenge

Sometimes an employee may find they’ve lost their ‘spark’ at work and don’t feel challenged anymore. This is difficult for workers that thrive on pressure or consistent mental stimulation and may lead to people leaving. 

An employer can often solve two problems in one go by encouraging workers to operate outside of their natural skill set. This introduces a new element of challenge while also helping a team build their skills or understanding.

Related: How to Handle a Counter Offer When You Leave a Job

6. Lack of development

Professional development is important for many employees, especially younger workers that want to improve what they know and open up new opportunities in the market.

Employers can mitigate these issues by having regular chats with employees about career progression either in pay reviews or one-to-one meetings.

You may also build out a career roadmap for a team or individual workers, which can provide a huge boost to team morale and give people something to work towards. You can support this roadmap with training or knowledge-sharing sessions to help the development along.

7. Underappreciation

If an employee feels underappreciated or doesn’t feel like they’re being recognised properly, they may choose to leave. It’s important that workers feel a sense of achievement when they hit a target or overperform, especially in competitive or target-based settings. If they don’t get this feeling, they’ll be less inclined to do it again. Employers may set up an incentive system or a rewards scheme that rewards this positive behaviour in a consistent way.

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